Sunday September 7 and Hafjell was on good behavior as the fastest riders in the world got ready for the biggest single race of the 2014 downhill season - the World Championships. One run and done, with no points to play for and no more big races remaining on the calendar, this is the ultimate gambler's race, the one where you have to hang it all out and hope to stick your run. Nobody wants to be second at Worlds.

Sadly, Connor Fearon crashed in morning practice and would not take the start. Several of the early starters did their best to join him on the injured list, only to get up from the wildest of crashes to brush it all off. The magic of Worlds for these riders who would never qualify for a World Cup under normal circumstances.

Bryn Atkinson grabbed an early lead for Australia with a 3:29, already within 2 seconds of Greg Minnaar's fastest time from Timed Training, an indication of just how fast you'd have to go to win on the day. It took until another fast Aussie to shake things up on the hotseat, when Jack Moir threw down a 3:27 to dislodge his countryman. Remi Thirion got us under 3:27 with a spirited attack in the rockgardens, including one of the gnarlier gaps available. How long would that time hold up?

Brook Macdonald laid down a fast run to take another 0.05 off Thirion's time, followed by Mick Hannah who unfortunately laid it down in a big fast sweeper. Into the big guns by now, and the mechanical gremlins would start to creep out of the woodwork. Andrew Neethling dropped a chain at the end of his run, but that was nothing compared to what was to follow. Neko Mulally broke his chain BEFORE the first jump of the course, and STILL came down in green - nearly 1 second up! What could have been for the quiet Pennsylvanian? Hart slid out to end his bid, and his teammate Marcelo Gutierrez failed to get close as well. And then it was time for the Flat Pedal Thunder from Down Under - what would Hill do? Up by 3 seconds at split 2, he looked to be on an absolute flyer, but he rolled the dice one time too many in the last rockgarden and took a massive crash to put an end to his hopes. Aaron Gwin next up, but he couldn't manage better than 8th at the line. How long would Neko's chainless run hold up?

Loic Bruni got close, but crossed the line in 4th. Minnaar tempted faith in the rockgarden but came unstuck, and now there were only 5 riders left up top. Simmonds charged hard but was unable to do better than 5th at the line, when finally order was restored by Gee and a 3:23. With a chain, we feel like we should remind you. Blenkinsop followed Gee down into 5th, and all eyes were on Troy and Josh.

Troy pulled back from 10th at the first split to get to within 0.5 seconds at the bottom - what would Ratboy do? Up at the splits, he was on for a history making run when it all went wrong over the last wood bridge. Josh overshot by a mile, flat landed from orbit and appeared to break his ankle, limping over the line in 2nd. Silver medal and a trip to ER was probably not how he imagined his day ending - heal up quick Josh!

In the women's, we were robbed of the big three-way showdown that we have become so accustomed to following all season long when Emmeline Ragot crashed in practice and broke "a couple of bones" in her hand. Nevertheless, we knew the battle would be intense, and the girls did not disappoint. Tahnee Seagrave threw down a super smooth and fast run to lay claim to the bronze medal, while Manon Carpenter and Rachel Atherton were only separated by 0.08 seconds for the gold. UK clean sweep on the podium, and a clean sweep of the year for Manon with both the overall World Cup and World Champion titles to her name.

In the Junior's, much as we should never take anything for granted, Loris Vergier came through with a dominating win to cap a dominating season. Another fast French junior on his way up the world rankings. Taylor Vernon had a run to forget, which will disappoint him after his recent return to form - he'll have to aim for getting it done in the big league now.

2014 UCI MTB DH World Championships, Elite Men Results (full results)

2014 UCI MTB DH World Championships, Elite Women Results (full results)

2014 UCI MTB DH World Championships, Junior Men Results (full results)

Check out Rat's foot! Holy crap!


Connor Fearon's busted face after his crash during practice. Reports of broken jaw and now. It's rough out there.

Holy crap...

Source: Ste Tomlinson

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